This page aggregates blogs and status info from Moodle developers. Please contact Helen if you'd like your feed added.
13 December, 2013
by Sam Hemelryk.
49 issues made it safetly in, only 2 issues this week didn't quite make it. Nothing was delayed. Thats a very impressive 96% rate.
- Christmas is nearly here, as we all enjoy the celebrations as much as you HQ will be closed from Wednesday 25th through Wednesday 1st.
- As you're planning your new features for Moodle 2.7 don't forget to think about phpunit and behat tests to accompany them, it'd make us extra happy.
Interesting happenings from this weeks run:
- MDL-42625 Hardcoded behat waits have been removed, tests should be feeling faster.
- MDL-40058 The add_to_log conversion continues on, wiki was completed this week.
- MDL-42932 Calendar types can now be set at a site level.
- MDL-35024 Numerous functions deprecated in 2.0 were removed.
- Several JS blocks we converted to modules built by shifter.
This week goes to Jason Fowler who peer-reviewed 11 of the 49 issues that were made it through integration this week. Big thanks Jason helping to keep the development ball rolling.
13 December, 2013 05:50 AM
05 December, 2013
by Dan Poltawski.
59 issues have been successfully integrated with 8 rejected and 1 delayed. That is 86% success.
- This week we started to accept improvements and new features into master to become Moodle 2.7.
- We'd like to remind developers about our policy on backporting. Particularly we ask that backporting is not forgotten. At this time we are supporting 2.4.x, 2.5.x, 2.6.x and 2.7dev for general bugfixes. From January 2.4.x will enter into security-only bugfixing, but until this time we require fixes are supplies for 2.4.x too.
- The frontend team at Moodle HQ are coming to the end of their initial planning stage for the 2.7 release and we're eagerly awaiting the publication of future plans to the community!
There are currently 27 issues waiting for peer review - its clear we're falling behind there. Please remember peer reviews if ever you can.
- MDL-32888 - Search/filtering added to the gradebook
- MDL-40191 - Switching role to student when viewing a hidden resource produces 'Coding error detected...' error
- MDL-42597 - New maintenance mode countdown improvements
- MDL-33618 - A way to hide messages that were configured to never be sent
- To Simon Coggins, for tackling some important work, collaborating and helping on the forums - thanks!
05 December, 2013 09:27 AM
04 December, 2013
A bit slow adding this here, but the registrations for the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 are now open. This is the announcement from the Moot site:
We are delighted to announce that registrations are now open for the upcoming Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014, being held on April 14-16 in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University.
Reserve your place at the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 and join hundreds of Moodlers from around the world for fun days of learning, networking and development.
Registration provides access to the panels, workshops, presentations, keynote addresses, meals (Coffee breaks and lunch) for each day that you are registered.
All registration options also include the Gala Dinner held on the Tuesday evening at the Our Dynamic Earth venue in Edinburgh.
There are a number of ticket options available for the Moodlemoot – all options include attendance at the Gala Dinner on April 15th 2014.
For on-line payment with Credit Cards visit http://moodlemoot-edinburgh.exordo.com/
Invoice registration is available for institutions and organisations.
Please contact us with your organisation details, (name, address, VAT number) and Full names & emails of those attending and we will draw up the invoice. Registration is confirmed upon receipt of payment.
Marketing Edinburgh have offer their accommodation booking service to delegates attending the Moodlemoot.
They specially negotiated rates at a selection of hotels/apartments throughout the city these cover two, three and four stars.
We will be running coaches to the Moodlemoot venue from outside the Roxburghe and also near one of the main hotels at the Royal Mile to the venue at 8:30 am on the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday and heading back afterwards, so the accommodation options are all within walking distance of the planned pickup points. We will finalise the pickup points once we have the list of bookings that people have made.
On completion of the booking process you will receive an email confirmation to the email address you have provided. You will also be provided with a password which will be required if you wish to make changes to your personal details or change your reservation online.
Please note that the main Hotel venue for Monday welcome drinks, and Hackfest on the Thursday and Moodlemoot Office is the The Roxburghe which you can also book through this service.
Click here to see accommodation options
by ghenrick at 04 December, 2013 08:23 AM
03 December, 2013
I was asked by a teacher of software development if I could give an overview of how we use the Scrum Framework in a real-world, open source project, here at Moodle. Being a former development teacher myself, I could not refuse.
The video below outlines the Agile software development processes followed at Moodle HQ. If you’re a developer or someone training to be a developer, this will be relevant to you.
Forgive my ums and ahs. It’s been a while since I was in teacher-mode.
by Michael de Raadt at 03 December, 2013 01:41 AM
29 November, 2013
by Dan Poltawski.
28 issues have been successfully integrated with 3 rejected. That is 90% success, hurrah!
- This integration round brings to an end our on-sync period and we will begin accepting changes in master for 2.7 next week!
- Over the last few days the integration team having our regular debrief meeting following the 2.6 release. We discussed how the release went, our internal processes, how to improve our work with developers, improve testing & quality of releases. We will spread the outcome of these discusisions over the next few weeks. We always have new things to learn and ways to improve and welcome contructive feedback about our work, so if you have suggestions on how we can improve, please do let us know!
There are currently 17 issues waiting for peer review in areas such as SCORM, grades, CSS and forms. Please help review there if you can.
- MDL-42992 - SCORM window cannot be resized in IE 9
- MDL-37016 - Problems upgrading to 2.4+ with MySQL sites
- MDL-40741 - Behat acceptance tests updated to be less theme-dependent
- MDL-42985 - The curl rule proxybypass is never applied
- MDL-42508 - Module generators for scorm, imscp and folder
- To Barbara Ramiro, our in-house designer working hard to help us make Moodle friendlier, prettier and more elegant, one step at a time. Thanks!
29 November, 2013 07:24 AM
28 November, 2013
There are lots of ways you can think about bug-fixing: it is just a job that developers do; it is problem solving; etc. Here I want to take one particular viewpoint, that it is generating new knowledge about a software system.
One was to think about software is that it is the embodiment of a set of requirements, of how something should work. For example, Moodle can be thought of as a lot of knowledge about what software is required to teach online, and how that software should be designed. Finding and fixing bugs increases that pool of knowledge by identifying errors or omissions and then correcting them.
The bug fixing process
We can break down the process of discovering and fixing a bug into the following steps. This is really trying to break the process down as finely as possible. As you read this list, please think about what new knowledge is generated during each step.
- Something's wrong: We start from a state of blissful ignorance. We think our software works exactly as it should, and then some blighter comes along and tells us "Did you know that sometimes ... happens?" Not what you want to hear, but just knowing that there is a problem is vital. In fact the key moment is not when we are told about the problem, but when the user encountered it. Good users report the problems they encounter with an appropriate amount of detail
- Steps to reproduce: Knowing the problem exists is vital, but not a great place to start investigating. What you need to know is something like "Using Internet Explorer 9, if you are logged in as a student, are on this page, and then click that link then on the next page press that button, then you get this error." and that all the details there are relevant. This is called steps to reproduce. For some bugs they are trivial. For bugs that initially appear to be random, identifying the critical factors can be a major undertaking.
- Which code is broken: Once the developer can reliably trigger the bug, then it is possible to investigate. The first thing to work out is which bit of code is failing. That is, which lines in which file.
- What is going wrong: As well as locating the problem code, you also have to understand why it is misbehaving. Is it making some assumption that is not true? Is it misusing another bit of code? Is it mishandling certain unusual input values? ...
- How should it be fixed: Once the problem is understood, then you can plan the general approach to solving it. This may be obvious given the problem, but in some cases there is a choice of different ways you could fix it, and the best approach must be selected.
- Fix the code: Once you know how you will fix the bug, you need to write the specific code that embodies that fix. This is probably the bit that most people think of when you say bug-fixing, but it is just a tiny part.
- No unintended consequences: This could well be the hardest step. You have made a change which fixed the specific symptoms that were reported, but have you changed anything else? Sometimes a bug fix in one place will break other things, which must be avoided. This is a place where peer review, getting another developer to look at your proposed changes, is most likely to spot something you missed.
- How to test this change: Given the changes you made, what should be done to verify that the issue is fixed, and that nothing else has broken? You can start with the steps to reproduce. If you work through those, there should no longer be an error. Given the previous point, however, other parts of the system may also need to be tested, and those need to be identified.
- Verifying the fix works: Given the fixed software, and the information about what needs to be tested, then you actually need to perform those tests, and verify that everything works.
In many cases you hardly notice some of the steps. For example, if the software always fails in a certain place with an informative error message, then that might jump you to step 4. To give a recent example: MDL-42863 was reported to me with this error message:
Error reading from database
Debug info: ERROR: relation "mdl_questions" does not exist
LINE 1: ...ECT count(1) FROM mdl_qtype_combined t1 LEFT JOIN mdl_questi...
SELECT count(1) FROM mdl_qtype_combined t1 LEFT JOIN mdl_questions t2 ON t1.questionid = t2.id WHERE t1.questionid <> $1 AND t2.id IS NULL
[array (0 => '0',]
Error code: dmlreadexception
- line 423 of /lib/dml/moodle_database.php: dml_read_exception thrown
- line 248 of /lib/dml/pgsql_native_moodle_database.php: call to moodle_database->query_end()
- line 764 of /lib/dml/pgsql_native_moodle_database.php: call to pgsql_native_moodle_database->query_end()
- line 1397 of /lib/dml/moodle_database.php: call to pgsql_native_moodle_database->get_records_sql()
- line 1470 of /lib/dml/moodle_database.php: call to moodle_database->get_record_sql()
- line 1641 of /lib/dml/moodle_database.php: call to moodle_database->get_field_sql()
- line 105 of /admin/tool/xmldb/actions/check_foreign_keys/check_foreign_keys.class.php: call to moodle_database->count_records_sql()
- line 159 of /admin/tool/xmldb/actions/XMLDBCheckAction.class.php: call to check_foreign_keys->check_table()
- line 69 of /admin/tool/xmldb/index.php: call to XMLDBCheckAction->invoke()
I have emboldened the key bit that says where the error is. Well, there are really two errors here. One is that the Combined question type add-on refers to mdl_questions when it should be mdl_question. The other is that the XMLDB check should not die with a fatal error if presented with bad input like this. The point is, this was all immediately obvious to me from the error message.
Another recent example at the other extreme is MDL-42880. There was no error message in this case, but presumably someone noticed that some of their quiz settings had changed unexpectedly (Step 1). Then John Hoopes, who reported the bug, had to do some careful investigation to work out what was going on (Step 2). I am glad he did, because it was pretty subtle thing, so in this case Step 2 was probably a lot of work. From there, it was obvious which bit of the code was broken (Step 3).
Note that Step 3 is not always obvious even when you have an error message. Sometimes things only blow up later as a consequence of something that went wrong before. To use an extreme example, if someone fills your kettle with petrol, instead of water, and then you turn it on to make some tea and it blows up. The error is not with turning the kettle on to make tea, but with filling it with petrol. If all you have is shrapnel, finding out how the petrol ended up in the kettle might be quite hard. (I have no idea why I dreamt up that particular analogy!)
MDL-42880 also shows the difference between the conceptual Steps 4 and 5, and the code-related Steps 3 and 6. I though the problem was with a certain variable becoming un-set at a certain time, so I coded a fix to ensure the value was never lost. That led to complex code that required a paragraph-long comment to try to explain it. Then I had a chat with Sam Marshall who suggested that in fact the problem was that another bit of code was relying on the value that variable, when actually the value was irrelevant. That lead to a simpler (hence better) fix: stop depending on the irrelevant value.
What does this mean for software?
There are a few obvious consequences that I want to mention here, although they are well known good practice. I am sure there are other more subtle ones.
First, you want the error messages output by your software to be as clear and informative as possible. They should lead you to where the problem actually occurred, rather than having symptoms only manifesting later. We don't want exploding kettles. There are some good examples of this in Moodle.
Second, because Step 7, ensuring that you have not broken anything else, is hard, it really pays to structure your software well. If you software is made up of separate modules that are each responsible for doing one thing, and which communicate in defined ways, then it is easier to know what the effect of changing a bit of one component is. If your software is a big tangle, who knows the effect of pulling one string.
Third, it really pays to engage with your users and get them to report bugs. Of course, you would like to find and fix all the bugs before you release the software, but that is impossible. For example, we are working towards a new release of the OU's Moodle platform at the start of December. We have had two professional testers testing it for a month, and a few select users doing various bits of ad-hoc testing. That adds up to less than 100 person days. On the day the software is released, probably 50,000 different users will log in. 50,000 user days, even by non-expert testers, are quite likely to find something that no-one else noticed.
What does this mean for users?
The more important consequences are for users, particularly of open-source software.
- Reporting bugs (Step 1) is a valuable contribution. You are adding to the collective knowledge of the project.
There are, however, some caveats that follow from the fact that in many projects, the number of developers available to fix bugs is smaller than the number of users reporting bugs.
- If you report a bug that was already reported, then someone will have to find the duplicate and link the two. Rather than being a useful contribution, this just wastes resources, so try hard to find any existing bug report, and add your information there, before creating a new one.
- You can contribute more by reporting good steps to reproduce (Step 2). It does not require a developer to work those out, and if you can do it, then there is more chance that someone else will do the remaining work to fix the bug. On the other hand, there is something of a knack to working out and testing which factors are, or are not, significant in triggering a bug. The chances are that an experienced developer or tester can work out the steps to reproduce quicker than you could. If, however, all the experienced developers are busy then waiting for them to have time to investigate is probably slower than investigating yourself. If you are interested, you can develop your won diagnosis skills.
- If you have an error message then copy and paste it exactly. It may be all the information you need to give to get straight to Step 3 or 4. In Moodle you can get a really detailed error message by setting 'debugging' to 'DEVELOPER' level, then triggering the bug again. (One of the craziest mis-features in Windows is that most error pop-ups do not let you copy-and-paste the message. Paraphrased error messages can be worse than useless.)
Finally, it is worth pointing out that Step 9 is another thing that can be done by the user, not a developer. For developers, it is really motivating when the person who reported the bug bothers to try it out and confirm that it works. This can be vital when the problem only occurs in an environment that the developer cannot easily replicate (for example an Oracle-specific bug in Moodle).
Thinking about bug finding and fixing as knowledge creation puts a more positive spin on the whole process than is normally the case. This shows that lots of people, not just developers and testers, have something useful to contribute. This is something that open source projects are particularly good at harnessing.
It also shows why it makes sense for an organisation like the Open University to participate in an open source community like Moodle: Bugs may be discovered before they harm our users. Other people may help diagnose the problem, and there is a large community of developers with whom we can discuss different possible solutions. Other people will help test our fixes, and can help us verify that they do not have unintended consequences.
by Tim Hunt (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 28 November, 2013 06:14 PM
25 November, 2013
Moodle 2.6 includes several new features developed by Catalyst
Improved Password reset process
The process for resetting a forgotten password in Moodle was previously lengthy and over-complicated. This improvement reduced the number of steps from 13 to 6. It was implemented by Peter Bulmer as a funded request from Statistics New Zealand and the Accident Compensation Corporation, who gave their approval for the work to be contributed to the community.
More information is available on the Moodle Tracker: MDL-23692
CSV Bulk Course Creation tool
One of the highest voted for features in the Moodle Tracker with 166 votes, this tool was developed by Piers Harding – it allows Moodle courses to be created and removed by passing a CSV file.
More information is available on the Moodle Tracker: MDL-13114
Assignment Marking management and workflow
This feature implements a marking workflow in the Assignment module that allows selective release of grades to students and individual marker allocation. This feature was developed by Dan Marsden for the Lightwork team at Massey University
More information is available on the Moodle Tracker: MDL-38359
A large number of improvements to the SCORM module were made by Dan Marsden including:
Improvements to management of package files(MDL-28579, MDL-41580)
New objectives report (MDL-39926)
User report improvements (MDL-41290)
Many of the developers in the team at Catalyst
provided other bug fixes and minor improvements that have been included as part of the 2.6 release. Catalyst is a certified Moodle Partner with offices in New Zealand
and the UK
by dan at 25 November, 2013 11:53 PM
21 November, 2013
by Eloy Lafuente (stronk7).
25 issues have been successfully integrated with 4 rejected and 0 delayed. That is 85% success, not bad!
- The storm of releases has ended, finally. Congrats everybody!
- For 2-3 weeks we'll be running the named "on-sync" period. Along it, we keep the new 26_STABLE branch and master 100%, with all the versions matching. That way, if any regression / problem is found on upgrade, we can apply the same solution for both branches easily. While we are in this period, any issue causing branches to diverge will be held for consideration once the period is over.
- Any 2.6 regression will get priority treatment, please fill any problem you discover.
- Soon, new proposals for 2.7 will be flooding us, feel free to comment, share, discuss any of them. Links to follow: Roadmap, Future major features.
- MDL-42884 - Allow to delete users with invalid emails.
- MDL-42504 - Warn the student on quiz auto-save problems.
- MDL-42852 - Blocks disappearing in Clean theme with RTL languages.
- MDL-42808 - Random timezone problems with scheduled backups.
- And some more in courses, themes, scorm, administration...
- To the people that helped us running the Moodle 2.6 QA tests, namely (source): Adrian Greeve, AL Rachels, Andrea Bicciolo, Ankit Agarwal, Carina Martinez, Chad Outten, Dan Poltawski, David Monllaó, Eloy Lafuente (stronk7), Farhan Karmali, Fernando Rocha, Frédéric Massart, Guillermo M., Hittesh, Jasmin Klindzic, Javier Sola Aréchaga, Joe Murphy, Joseph Rézeau, Kevin Wiliarty, Lehane Boonzaaier, Lisa Caines, Mary Cooch, Michael de Raadt, Michael E, Mitchell van Gerwen, Natalia Giovagnetti, Nicolas Martignoni, Rajesh Taneja, Rossiani Wijaya, Sakshi Goel, Sam Stegers, Séverin Terrier, Stephen Bourget. Thanks!
Ciao all, stronk7
21 November, 2013 11:18 PM
20 November, 2013
This week the latest version of Moodle was released, Moodle 2.6.
This is a long-awaited version for many of the excellent features that have been added. There are new features for all – some which help students, some which teachers will love and some which administrators will dance over.
Moodle HQ also released some videos highlighting each feature on their YouTube account.
These are a few of the cool teacher ones:
- The interface for editing a course is much improved – out with the line of icons and in with a nice usable drop down for editing (video)
- Teaches can now annotate assignment PDFs in their browser without the need to download them. (video)
- Teachers now have more control over the workflow of grading an assignment and who grades the assignment.(video)
- The certainty-based marking for quiz questions has now got improved feedback options
These are the ones that help students (and other users):
- Resetting your password in Moodle is a cleaner 1 step process, where you request the change and the link sent enables you to change it on the page. The link expires after 30 mins for security reasons.
- The continued work on making the Moodle site work better on mobile devices is really paying off, with it working better on desktops, tablets and phones.
- The text editor has been improved and made more user and device friendly
- The Skydrive integration is now available in core rather than a plugin, which is great news for institutions using it!
Administrators – prepare to dance:
- The bulk course creation tool has now made it into core which is really good news (video)
- The user interface for management of courses and categories has been majorly overhauled and it is a huge timesaver now. (video)
- The backing up and restoring of large courses has been improved performance wise which is great for all those 4-10 Gig courses out there!
As this will be the version that most Northern hemisphere organisations implement next Summer, it is great to see so many great new features and continued improvements across the board.
If you havent checked out the video playlist I am embedding it below.
For the release notes check here on Moodle Docs -> http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Moodle_2.6_release_notes
To download it – check the usual download page or GIT.
by ghenrick at 20 November, 2013 08:44 AM
16 November, 2013
by Eloy Lafuente (stronk7).
113 issues have been successfully integrated with 5 rejected and 0 delayed. That is 96% success, wow!
- First of all, welcome back, moodle.org. We have been missing you!
- Then, after a very intense week, with everybody helping everywhere, Moodle 2.6rc1 (release candidate 1) has been tagged. And the final 2.6.0 version, built on top of it, will be released this Monday.
- Finally, here it's a link to the Moodle 2.6.0 release testing matrix. It's the first time we run it, there are still some combinations to fix (ignore any non-firefox combination, they are not stable enough) but also shows some aspects where we are lacking testing resources (sqlsrv, windows...). We'll improve there!
- MDL-42887 - Worth noting this. It applies some "responsive" behavior to all the labels in all the forms for all the themes in Moodle. If you find any glitch with the new behavior, please report it ASAP.
- And lots more everywhere!
- To everybody involved with the Moodle 2.6.0 release in any way. You did it!
Ciao all, stronk7
16 November, 2013 12:08 PM
14 November, 2013
With the latest major version (2.6) coming next week, it was good to see the latest minor releases published.
If you are currently using Moodle 2.3, 2.4 or 2.5 then you should consider upgrading to the latest minor release. As normal with minor releases, the releases contain bug fixes and a number of security fixes.
The Moodle 2.5.3 releases addresses 224 bugs (see 2.5.3 release notes)
The Moodle 2.4.7 releases addresses 150 bugs (see 2.4.7 release notes)
The Moodle 2.3.10 releases addresses 150 bugs (see 2.3.10 release notes)
If you are still on the older Moodle 2.3 (which was released June 2012) you should consider upgrading to a later version now, ideally looking at 2.5.3.
For downloads as always check out the Moodle.org download pages on http://download.moodle.org
by ghenrick at 14 November, 2013 07:52 AM
29 October, 2013
Have you Enjoyed the Essential theme? Maybe you still use the Rocket theme or the Font Awesome filter? Wished you could give something back? Well I need your help!
And the good news is that I am not asking you to give ME anything. I need your help to fundraise for Mens health! I enjoy putting back into the community around me. tis is why I release my theme’s like Rocket and Essential free to the community. My other way of putting back to the community is through fundraising.
I am taking part in this years Movember campaign and I want to raise an EPIC amount of funds towards this event. If you are not familiar with Movember I would urge you to take a look at their website here.
On average, men die at a significantly younger age than women – the average life expectancy for Australian men is almost five years less than women (presently 79.5 compared to 84), however there is no biological reason for this. The reasons for the poor state of men’s health in Australia and around the world are numerous and complex.
From Movember’s perspective the reasons for the poor state of men’s health include:
- Lack of awareness and understanding of the health issues men face
- Men not openly discussing their health and how they’re feeling
- Reluctance to take action when men don’t feel physical or mentally well
- Men engaging in risky activities that threaten their health
- Stigmas surrounding mental health
Movember aims to change the face of men’s health and reverse this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustache as a catalyst, we want to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to learn and talk about their health more openly and take action.
As an official Movember participant I need your help to raise funds and help me grow one of the most awful looking moustaches you have ever seen.
Please note: You are NOT sending the money to me. It is all sent directly to the Movember Foundation.
What am I asking for?
- If you can, please donate through my Movember profile. Any amount helps. Size doesn’t matter. just remember you are helping with a good cause and whatever you can spare is appreciated. DONATE NOW!!
- Please Facebook the link to my page at http://www.mobro.co/moodleman, retweet it or post it on your social networks. The more the word can spread the greater the amount of funds I can raise.
- Sign up for Movember yourself. I always donate back as much as I receive myself. So, if you sign up just let me know your own profile on Movember and I’ll match you dollar for dollar.
Just by helping me help them I will know that Essential is being well appreciated and that we are all putting back into our communities.
Please support me today!
The post Get behind my Mo this Movember appeared first on Moodleman Blog.
by moodleman at 29 October, 2013 07:46 AM
22 October, 2013
The Moodle Research Conference took place on 4th and 5th October in Sousse, Tunisia. There was a lot of presentations of the papers which really made me think about different aspects of learning, and specifically elearning.
Here are some thoughts that I picked out from my notes. These are a mix of being a point from their presentations, and my thoughts related to the presentation. So although not direct quotes – the presentation is referenced for completeness.
We need to enable meaningful communication between students.
Re:- Keynote “Negotiating students’ attention” Prof Dick Ng’ambi
Successful technical management of Moodle is based on using well known standard tools in their management of the system along with skilled motivated staff and strong documented processes.
Re: -”On Optimal Strategies for the Development and Operation of Moodle in Higher Education Institutions” – M Omar Faruque Sarker, Jo Matthews, Jessica Gramp
The use of analytics can underpin the transformative use of Moodle from the initial standard document repository to a more blended and collaborative learning delivery system.
Re: “Beyond the baseline: working with e-learning champions to transform e-learning at a research-led university” - Jessica Gramp
Rather than just providing the content, providing self-assessment tools (like quizzes) for learners to find where they have gaps and thus identify where they need to learn, and then supporting them is an interesting approach to blended teaching and creates effective quality teaching moments.
Re: “Full Mathematical Power In Calculated Questions Through Spreadsheets” – Hiram Bollaert
It is important to assess feedback on Moodle/Online learning into two buckets – institutional/organisational issues and learning platform/learning design issues.
Re: “The Use of Moodle at Cass Business School: A Student Perspective” – Leona Norris, Lowe Sporre, Didrik Svendsen
Personalisation can mean many things to many people. It is important to understand what level of personalisation that you can offer and that you want to offer in the different aspects of learning, and crucially what impact this will have on staff and learners alike.
Re: “Emphasising personalisation movements in contemporary management education: the impact on learning environments” – Martin Rich, Clive Holtham, Ann Brown, Annora Eyt-Dessus, Leona Norris
All the papers are individually downloadable from the Moodle Research Conference website database. The full proceedings are available on the MRC2013 website.
by ghenrick at 22 October, 2013 07:14 PM
21 October, 2013
by Dan Poltawski.
45 issues have been successfully integrated with 14 rejected. That is 76% success.
On Friday we released Moodle 2.6 beta and moved BETA maturity status, over the next few weeks we will be working to integrate fixes detected during the QA testing period. Please pay particular attention to any mdlqa bugs reported to you.
There are currently 18 issues waiting for peer review, please help review these issues if you are able to.
- To Iñaki Arenaza for many years of collaboration and development in the Moodle community. Thanks!
21 October, 2013 05:42 AM
17 October, 2013
What is Font Awesome?
Font Awesome was first created by Dave Gandy in February 2012. Billed as “the iconic font”, this pictographic font is designed for use with Twitter Bootstrap in mind. But guess what? You don’t need to have a Twitter Bootstrap site to be able to use it. Font Awesome can be used with any website, including Moodle.
A sample of some of the available icons
Font Awesome is fully Open Source, licensed under SIL OFL 1.1 with the code itself licensed under the MIT License. If you use Font Awesome in your sites you are not required to provide attribution however it is happily welcomed
You can also contribute your own icons. While they do keep a very tight reign on quality there is a process for submitting your own icons to get included in the next release. Click here for information on how to submit your own icons.
Why use Font Awesome?
There are many great reasons to use Font Awesome. To start off with it is a wonderfully diverse set of over 360 icons with an icon to suit nearly every situation. Each icon is a scalable vector graphic. The beauty of this is that you can make them as large or small as you like without any breakdown in quality. You will never see the pixelation that you would typically see when magnifying an image. Each icon can also be customized. Their size, color, drop shadow, in fact just about anything can be changed with the power of CSS.
Bullhorn as a vector icon. Note: no blurred edges.
Bullhorn as a standard icon. Note the blur as it scales.
How to Setup Moodle for Font Awesome
Install a Font Awesome enabled theme
Some Moodle themes are now coming with Font Awesome already enabled. To find out if they do just read the information found about them in the Modules and Plugins Database.
One such theme that already has Font Awesome contained within is the Essential Theme. Once this theme is enabled you will be able to use Font Awesome right away.
Download the theme
Load Font Awesome via CDN
So you want to use these icons in your content but don’t want to change your theme? No worries. You can instead load Font Awesome into your Moodle site using another method called CDN.
A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers across the Internet. The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance. You can pull Font Awesome into your site using any theme by adding a single line to your Admin settings. This line will connect your Moodle to a dedicated CDN to reliably load Font Awesome into your Moodle site.
To add the CDN to your Moodle you need to add the following line to your “Additional HTML” settings in Site Administration. You can find this located under the “Appearance” menu.
Additional HTML under the Appearance menu
Once you are in the “Additional HTML” settings we need to add the following line to the “Within HEAD” section. This will then load the Font Awesome as part of every page load.
The CDN line is added to “within head”
Using Font Awesome in Moodle
Sadly using Font Awesome icons in Moodle is not straight forward. The instructions from the Font Awesome website are to use the following code to display an icon:
There are two problems with this methodology however.
- Teachers have to toggle to HTML view in the text editor to be able to enter this
- Even if you do type it in correctly Moodle will strip it out anyway when you hit save
To get past both these issues I have created a new Moodle filter to allow for the easy addition of Font Awesome icons anywhere in Moodle where you have a text editor.
The Font Awesome Moodle Filter
The aim of this filter was to provide an easy and functional way for content creators to easily add Font Awesome icons anywhere in course content. If using the recommended method provide by Font Awesome which involves creating custom classes you will find that the text editor strips these out automatically as unrecognised/bad code. This filter provides another mechanism to add Font Awesome icons that won’t be stripped out by the editor.
Once you have installed the filter adding an icon to anywhere in your course that you wish is now a simple process. The hardest part is finding the icon you wish to use. To browse the full list of over 360 icons please visit this link. Once you have found the icon you are after you just have to surround it with a set of square brackets. I’ll create a label as an example
Adding an icon to a label using the filter
This will add a small beaker icon once saved and then viewed in Moodle.
Viewing the label
You will notice that by default the icon is quite small. The good news is that you can use a variety of additional options to change how this icon displays in your content. These are listed below.
Moodle Filter Options
Not happy with the icon size, alignment or direction? Check out this wide range of options to allow you to customise the display.
If you wish to make the icon larger you can use a multiplier. e.g.:
[icon-beaker icon-2x] or [icon-camera-retro icon-4x]
If you wish to rotate the icon you can specify how many degrees clockwise. e.g.:
You can also flip an icon horizontally or vertically. e.g.:
[icon-beaker icon-flip-horizontal] or [icon-beaker icon-flip-vertical]
You can mute the colour to a dull grey. e.g.:
You can “pull” the icon to the left or right. If it is “pulled” to the left text will wrap to the right. e.g.:
All the settings above can be mixed and matched to achieve the perfect outcome. For example if I wanted to highlight a famous quote I could do the following:
Adding a “quote” icon
Would generate a label looking like:
A famous Quote
Hopefully now you can see how easy it is, with only a couple of settings, to start using Fonts in your courses. The use of these are limited only to your imagination. They can be used in
…and so much more. Be sure to visit the demo course showing these and other examples.
The post Using FontAwesome in Moodle appeared first on Moodleman Blog.
by moodleman at 17 October, 2013 12:37 AM
14 October, 2013
It is good to be reminded about how learners see our systems sometimes. Honestly!
For the last week, my husband has been working through a wide selection of e-learning materials for his company. His boss sees his progress and grades so apparently it is important that he passes every module. Here are some of the comments I’ve heard him mutter about:
- I can’t log in
- Why does the pop-up blocker keep kicking in?
- I want to go back and start the next module but I have to click so many times, its annoying.
- That answer was right, why did it say I was wrong?
- That feedback doesn’t go with the answer I gave.
- Where did my grades go, why can’t I see them?
- Why didn’t my progress track?
- Why did it tell me it tracked on one section and not on the next one?
- “I’ve been here for 7 years, fixing bikes for 30+ and that’s just plain wrong!”
The thing is, that when he started this rant, we both made comments about how they should use a decent learning system, and you don’t even have to pay for one of those if you want. After all, Moodle has again been voted best LMS in Top 100 Tools for Learning survey.
So you can imagine my horror when on Saturday morning he finally showed me this travesty of a system. Oh dear. Moodle.
Actually, I think it turns out to be Totara, because I found a few links with that in the name. There’s certainly some custom code in there that I’ve never seen before.
I decided that I had a vested interest in this system and I wanted to work out where the problems really were. After all, if there are bugs they should be reported. My husband has already complained about a lot of these issues, but I could perhaps help pass on some more constructive criticism.
- I can’t work out what his log in problems were, but he seems to have that dialed now. To be honest, he’s pretty bad with passwords anyway, so it could just have been user error.
- All the modules are set up as Moodle courses with SCORM packages in them. The SCORM packages are set to open in a separate window, which is causing the pop-up blocker to fire, and then the multiple clicks at the end to go to the next package. This is poor set-up in my view, and could easily be rectified.
- The progress and grading issues I’m not sure about. These could be to do with the way the SCORM packages are set up, or the way they’ve been programmed. I’m no SCORM expert. It could be a bug. The one that does look like a bug is the way the overall progress bar works. As you can see from this screenshot I took, he has progress in individual courses, but the overall bar at the top hasn’t moved.
- Most of his concerns though are about the content of the learning material. I think that’s a good thing because it means that most of the time he is focusing on his learning and not on the system. But, whoever built the assessments needs a slap for the way the questions/answers/feedback are poorly wired up.
My husband is no different from any other e-learning student, so what he experiences and how he responds are presumably pretty typical. Here’s what I learned from all this.
A student has no trust in the system if he answers a question with the obviously correct answer and is told (and presumably graded) that he got it wrong, or if he does things and the progress bars don’t move.
A system can give a bad impression even if the system itself is not at fault. The content is king and where students can not separate content issues from system ones, so the system gets the blame. I wonder how often that is true when people complain? But we developers can do little about it.
I’m surprised by how worried students can get about this stuff. To my eye, they’re not major issues, but he’s really unnerved by them. He knows that he’s being judged by his scores, and he’s paranoid that he’s wasting his time. That’s bound to be true of OU students too.
We have a duty to make things as easy as possible for them to use, and to make sure everything is logical, sensible and understandable in the features we build and the promptness with which we fix issues. It is notoriously hard to remove features from systems but I wonder what we could do to discourage ones (like pop-up windows) that have poor usability and encourage people into better practice.
Now, how do I report a potential bug in Totara? Maybe I can’t since I don’t even know what version they’re running .
by jennymgray at 14 October, 2013 09:16 AM
11 October, 2013
by Eloy Lafuente (stronk7).
NN issues have been successfully integrated with P rejected and Q delayed. That is R% success, good one!
- Various things that cannot be shared here have happened in codebase this week.
- One of them was pretty, pretty interesting.
- The others, too, but in a lower degree. We'll continue informing about all them.
- While the weather is hot here, we are 100% frozen. Only bug fixes (and goal issues) will be allowed to land. Everything else, held.
- Still we aren't beta, but will soon. Plz, don't tell!
- MDL-0f1db - Replacement to COCOCO and CACACA MANAGGGG pages.
- MDL-ab88c - Improved DELETTT of XYWZ.
- MDL-edaad - Organize KAPUTT handlers in core.
- MDL-876bb - Problems with the PHONEXXX theme (soon to be deleted from core, be warned!).
- MDL-1efa2 - More progresses in that BACKXXX area, big thanks to everybody involved!
- And tons more in other areas I cannot bring more details about. Well, yes.. well, no!
- To X.Y. Ng , our Digital Marketing Specialist, for the huge amount of new keys to play (nobody else can deserve it more in a post like this, ROFL).
Ciao all, shhh7
11 October, 2013 02:44 PM
10 October, 2013
Over the past few months I have presented variations of presentations around gamification, and this deck is my most complete and recent version that was delivered at the Moodlemoot in Barcelona (with Laia Canet) and the Medmoot in Tunisia.
What are your thoughts on Gamification, Motivation and their use in learning and in Moodle?
Please contribute your thoughts in the comments!
by ghenrick at 10 October, 2013 08:41 PM
05 October, 2013
In the last two weeks I have been lucky to present at both the Barcelona Moodlemoot and the Mediterranean Moodlemoot on Open Badges and Moodle. After a short explanation of OpenBadges, the focus moves to the processes around rolling out badges.
The presentation ends with slides on the Moodle aspects of OpenBadges.
These are the slides which I used in the presentation.
What is your approach to badges?
by ghenrick at 05 October, 2013 01:02 PM
04 October, 2013
Last week I did a couple of presentations (on MoodleMobile Roadmap and MoodleMobile plugin development) at MoodleMoot Spain 2013.
It was a privilege share some thoughts with Martin Dougiamas, other Moodle developers and admins, thanks to that I was alerted to some existing bugs in MoodleMobile that were quickly solved the next few days.
Here you have the two presentations (via Slideshare):
by juan-leyva (email@example.com) at 04 October, 2013 03:41 PM
by Dan Poltawski.
Whilst I sat in the hammock of development this week - Sam, Marina and Eloy have been churning through the mountain of issues and Sam Hemelryk provided me with this update through the power of telepathy:
61 issues made the cut this week with 5 being rejected and only a single issue being delayed. That is a success rate of 92.42%! great job everyone.
Code freeze is next Monday if you haven't got your code in yet or up for integration review you had better hurry. Because of this time frame many interesting changes were accepted this week.
- MDL-41888 Quiz statistics back-end has been moved to core, so they can potentially be reused by other activities.
- MDL-41398 Changes to bootstrapbase and clean to better handle upgrades lead to a new layout file for those themes.
- MDL-41848 SCORM can now be added by drag+drop.
- MDL-41882 + MDL-41421 The site and testplan generators were backported this week to the 2.5 branch.
- MDL-41878 When loading YUI modules we now use a shorter path, leading to a reduced number of requests on some pages.
- Several more modules were converted to make use of the new events API.
This week warm thanks goes to one of our own Damyon Wiese for his awesome work on the Atto editor and continued efforts (with help from the frontend team) to polish it before release.
 If only.
04 October, 2013 04:37 AM
01 October, 2013
The next 5 days are looking to be quite engaging starting with tomorrow when the Mediterranean Moodle Moot begins. The programme is pack full of presentations over the two days.
I will be delivering a number of presentations at the Moot starting off with a session on Open Badges which will be co-presented with Megan Cole, Community Strategy Lead for the Mozilla Foundation (who is presenting remotely). Open Badges do seem to be the hot topic of the moment, so it will be interesting to see what the current stats are globally and also what the views of the attendees are on the implementation side of Badges.
After lunch I will be presenting on a process to use in Reviewing Add-ons for your Moodle installation, and will be giving the participants a challenge to do a review / evaluation of some plugins during the session.
On Thursday I have a morning presentation on Gamification, and specifically how to use it to improve learner engagement in a course.
My last session at the MedMoot is a workshop on the database activity, uses, configuring and all that jazz!
I am looking forward to meeting everyone and getting their views and vision on badges and gamification especially as they seem to be some of the most popular topics at present.
Lets hope it is not too hot!
by ghenrick at 01 October, 2013 09:20 AM
27 September, 2013
by Marina Glancy.
51 issues have been successfully integrated this week with 7 rejected and 5 delayed. This is 88% success rate.
Lots of interesting improvements are landing now. The issues are mostly very big and integrators work 24 hours a day reviewing (and sometimes rejecting) them. But even 24h is not always enough.
- MDL-31501 New session infrastructure - file, database and memcached storage. Thanks Petr
- MDL-40903 Persistent cache setting renamed to static acceleration and affects data only. Thanks Sam
- MDL-41580 Allow an imsmanifest.xml file to be selected from a file system repository and allow relative linking. Thanks Dan Marsden
- To David Monllao for making Moodle automated testing better and better every day!
27 September, 2013 06:42 AM
26 September, 2013
Today the Moodlemoot Spain 2013 kicked off in Barcelona at the Universitat Pumpeu Fabra, Barcelona. One of the first speakers was Martin Dougiamas speaking about teaching and learning.
Martin started off with a retrospective on various solutions over the last 100 years which have claimed that they will replace teachers and as of yet have not. It is an interesting thought to contemplate as to what the role of a teacher was, is and will be as technology and society changes. There is so much content available, networks for discussions and sharing and tools that can be used to assess – maybe technology is making more of us teachers and not less.
One of the other points Martin talked about was where the focus was with Moodle development. I was most interested in the improvements in the forum which he discussed including Discussion Thread subscription, in-line replies and posting stats.
With the Moodle Research Conference taking place next week in Tunisia, it was great that Martin also shared some of the research questions that he would like to see answered:
There is a lot of points there which can be looked into.
Thats all for now, more over the coming week while I attend two Moodlemoots and the Moodle Research Conference.
by ghenrick at 26 September, 2013 09:48 AM
24 September, 2013
Following on from an earlier post we now have 2 new methods for managing SCORM content in Moodle 2.6.
Selecting a Zip package as an alias from a repository.
When adding/updating a SCORM and selecting a Zip package from a repository in Moodle 2.6 you now have the ability to create an alias/shortcut to the file – you can then set an update frequency to set how often Moodle should check to see if there is an updated zip. To set this up follow the steps below:
- Click the ‘Turn editing on’ button at the top right of the course page
- Click the ‘Add an activity or resource’ link in the section you wish to add your SCORM package, then in the activity chooser, select SCORM package then click the Add button (or select ‘SCORM package’ from the ‘Add an activity’ dropdown menu)
- Enter a name and a description.
- click the Add button to open the File picker menu in order to choose a file a repository
- Select the repository that contains your SCORM zip files
- Browse and select the SCORM zip file you wish to add – makes sure you select the option to create an alias/shortcut to the file.
- Set the auto-update setting to “every day” – which will check overnight if a package update is required or “every time it’s used” to check if a new package is available every time a user enters the SCORM.
- Click the button ‘Save and display’ at the bottom of the page and then enter the SCORM package to make sure it has worked!
Selecting an imsmanifest.xml from an unzipped SCORM in a file system repository.
This allows you to create a repository that contains all your unzipped SCORM packages – you can also share assets between your SCORM packages – for example if you re-use the same video file across multiple packages you can just link to that single video file from multiple imsmanifest.xml files – you can also update your content and as the content is loaded directly from the repository the user will always see the most up to date file. To set this up follow the steps below(some of this is copied from MoodleDocs)
- First set up a new File system repository (you need direct access to your server to do this)
- Find the moodledata folder on the server
- Inside it, create a folder called “repository” (if it doesn’t exist already)
- Inside that folder, create a new folder for your repository of SCORM packages named appropriately.
- Extract your SCORM packages into appropriate locations within this folder.
- . Enabling the File System repository plugin
- Go to Settings > Site administration > Plugins > Repositories > Manage Repositories;
- Select from the drop down next to File sytem “Enabled and visible”
- Click the Settings link..
- Click Create a repository instance
- Give it a name and choose from the dropdown the folder you created with your SCORM packages.
- Click the checkbox “Allow relative files” and Save.
- Adding a SCORM package
- Click the ‘Turn editing on’ button at the top right of the course page
- Click the ‘Add an activity or resource’ link in the section you wish to add your SCORM package, then in the activity chooser, select SCORM package then click the Add button (or select ‘SCORM package’ from the ‘Add an activity’ dropdown menu)
- Enter a name and a description.
- click the Add button to open the File picker menu.
- Select the SCORM file system repository you created in the file picker window.
- Browse and select the imsmanifest.xml file you wish to add – makes sure you select the option to create an alias/shortcut to the file.
- After selecting the imsmanifest.xml file click the button ‘Save and display’ at the bottom of the page and then enter the SCORM package to make sure it has worked!
This method is only currently supported by the file system repository – it’s possible that some of the other repository types could be added in future.
by dan at 24 September, 2013 02:42 AM
23 September, 2013
Moodle 2.6(releases November 2013) brings some great improvements to the SCORM module
One of the most voted for features in the Moodle tracker for SCORM has been to allow better use of alias’s and support for unzipped content – Thanks to one of our clients at Catalyst IT we have now implemented this in Moodle 2.6
Key components of this work are covered in the following tracker issues:
MDL-41434 – When updating a SCORM package we used to delete all the records in the scorm_scoes table and then recreate them which caused all sorts of issues – by implementing a sort field in the table we keep the existing data and order it correctly this makes updating a SCORM package less fragile.
MDL-28579 – The SCORM module previously used the basic filepicker element which didn’t support the use of creating an alias/link to a file, converting to the advanced filemanager element gives a lot more flexibility.
MDL-41580 – This was the harder part to get right – this patch allows a file system repository in Moodle to support relative linked files – this means that you can unzip your SCORM package in a file system repository and then when creating your SCORM inside your course you just link directly to the imsmanifest.xml file within your repository.
I will follow this up with a post that shows how to use this feature.
Mayank Gupta has been working hard on improving the SCORM player as part of his GSOC project – particularly to improve it’s use on mobile devices - we now have a more responsive design and the SCORM TOC automatically collapses and hides on smaller screens and it seems to fit these devices a lot better than our older SCORM player – he has also converted a lot of the older code to make sure it meets the Moodle coding guidelines. You can see some of the details on this in MDL-39910 I’ll try to follow this post up later with some screen-shots of the updated player in action.
We have also improved the reporting in SCORM:
MDL-39926 – A new Objectives report like the existing Interactions report, some SCORM packages use objectives to report progress through a course so we added a nicer view of this data that allows easy export.
MDL-41290 – Improved user level reporting – the old user level reports were quite limited – we have added the ability to export this data and have added a more useful view of the interaction elements as well.
Thanks to everyone who has helped with funding or with development and testing of these improvements!
by dan at 23 September, 2013 11:56 PM
20 September, 2013
by Sam Hemelryk.
Cold numbers:34 issues
have been successfully integrated this week with only 3 rejected. There were no issues delayed. Success rate was just shy of 92%.
Code freeze is just around the corner. Beat the rush, get your new features and improvements up for integration now!
The conversion of old log entries to new events continues with new module events. Thanks Ankit.
Several new assign module webservices and overall improvements. Thanks Damyon.
A couple of user fields have increased in length. Thanks Marina.
To Dan Marsden
this week for his continued work on the SCORM module. An amazing effort as always thanks Dan!
20 September, 2013 04:45 AM
19 September, 2013
The call for proposals is now open for the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 being held at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on April 14-16, 2014.
The Edinburgh Corn Exchange – Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014
This year the main theme of the Moodlemoot is the student experience. There will be three strands:
- Active Learning
- Assessment and Evaluation
- Wider Support and Admin
The Moodlemoot Committee are now inviting proposals for presentations and posters! For more details on the different presentation formats click here
The call for proposals closes on October 31st, 2013.
The schedule for the two central days (April 15th and 16th) of the Moodlemoot will be designed to cater for a number of proposal types these include:
- Pecha Kucha ( 6 mins 40 seconds)
- Short Presentations (15 minutes)
- Long Presentations (25 Minutes)
There will be a number of training and workshops sessions for the 1st day of the Moot (April 14th) – these are being organised centrally and the full list will be announced in coming month or so before full registration begins.
On April 17th there will also be a developer focused hackfest.
If you have any ideas you may wish to contribute please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Submit
To submit your proposal, you have fill out the online proposal form @ http://moodlemoot-edinburgh.exordo.com
The steps for submission are quite straight forward.
You will be first asked to register – which is just three simple steps
- Fill in your email
- Fill in your first name and surname
- Click Create Account, then click continue.
Now you can move into the submission process
To start Click on Submit a Paper
- Step 1. Type in the Title and Abstract – Click Done
- Step 2. Fill in the authors page including affiliation/organisation – Click Done
- Step 3. Select the Topics for the Submission – Click Done
- Step 4. Select which submission format you are submitting the abstract for – Click Done
If you need to edit any details you can then Click on EDIT
And that’s that, you can submit more than one proposal if you wish.
Be sure to check out the different formats of presentations before you submit your idea.
See you in Edinburgh next April.
by ghenrick at 19 September, 2013 06:48 AM
17 September, 2013
A few days ago we rolled out some new features. So far things don’t seem to have broken catastrophically, so I thought now might be a good time to publicize them a bit!
- Quickly update your page to see annotations other people have added while you’re reading
- See a list of all annotations on the page from the toolbar
- The toolbar will now work on a range of modern mobile apple and android devices
- Rich text formatting for your comments
- Best-guess approach to fixing pins which have got lost (broken) because the page has changed since the annotation was made
Plus a lot of updating of underlying libraries (including to Silverstripe 3 and jquery 10) which will make things easier for us to maintain.
A fairly short list, but quite a lot of changes. I hope people like them!
by jennymgray at 17 September, 2013 11:03 AM
16 September, 2013
Many moodle sites make use of the fantastic “Custom Menu” which was introduced in Moodle 2.0 and above. For the un-initiated, the custom menu is a set of dropdown menus that display across the top of a Moodle page. It’s links can be set in Amin settings accessible by Managers and Administrators
Setting up a Custom Menu
The custom menu setting in Moodle administration allows you to create a drop down menu that can be displayed by themes that support it. Currently all themes that are provided with Moodle 2.0 support this custom menu as to a large proportion of those in the Plugins database on moodle.org.
To create your first custom menu follow these steps:
- As an administrator, go to Administration > Site administration > Appearance > Themes > Theme Settings and scroll down to the “Custom Menu Items” field.
- You are able to create the custom menu by entering custom menu items one per line into the setting. A custom menu item contains, at minimum, two variables. The first is the label/text we are going to display to our users and the second is the URL we will point them towards. These two variables are separated by a vertical line, also often referred to as a “pipe”, that is typed by using (Shift + \) . For example:
- To add sub-menu’s to our custom menu we can proceed items by a number of hyphens (-), the number of hyphens determines the depth of the item. So items that are NOT preceded by a hyphen appear on the top level of the menu (always visible), items with a single hyphen appear on a drop down menu below the previous top level item, and items with two hyphens appear on a drop down menu below the previous first level item and so on. For example.
-Moodle free support|http://moodle.org/support
-Moodle commercial hosting|http://moodle.com/hosting
-Moodle commercial support|http://moodle.com/support
If you have followed these steps correctly you should end up with a menu looking similar to this.
A simple custom menu
Tip One – Adding Tool Tips
- As mentioned above, creating a custom menu item requires a minimum of two variables, the Label and URL. But many don’t know that there 2 more you can use that add additional features to your menu.
- The first advanced tip is that we can add a Tooltip to the custom menu if needed. This is an optional feature for those who want it. A tooltip displays when the mouse is hovered over the item and can be used for larger titles or for item descriptions if needed. For example:
Moodle community|http://moodle.org|The official online community for Moodle
If you have followed these steps correctly you should end up with a menu looking similar to this when you hover your mouse over the item.
Custom Menu with hovering Tooltip
Note: If no tooltip is set then Moodle uses the Label instead
Tip Two – Multiple Languages
One question I hear often and am amazed so few know about is “Can we have our custom menu adjust based on the users language?” . The answer is YES YOU CAN. All we have to do is provide the Label in the languages you wish to set. Before we can do this you need to ensure you have already installed the additional language packs through Administration > Site Administration > Languages > Language Packs.
When you install the languages you will see that each has an abbreviated form. For instance English is en, German is de, etc. Once we know this it is easy for us to add the forth variable, a Language. For example:
Moodle community|http://moodle.org|The official online community for Moodle|en
Moodle gemeinschaft|http://moodle.org|Der offizielle Online-Community für Moodle|de
Now that we have entered both Moodle will display the item appropriate for the Language pack that has been chosen by the teacher in course settings or the user in their profile or through the Language menu.
The same custom menu now displaying in different languages
Tip Three – Links in New Windows
Sometimes you have a link in your custom menu that you want to open in a new window. This is also easy to achieve with a simple bit of HTML.
Moodle Homepage|http://moodle.org\" target=\"_blank
When the custom menu is being rendered by Moodle it surrounds it in a piece of HTML called a <a href> tag. What you are seeing above is us adding a target tag telling the browser to open the link in a new window.
It is important to note that you DON’T put a closing quote mark on the end of the statement. That was not a typo.
The post Custom Menu Tricks appeared first on Moodleman Blog.
by moodleman at 16 September, 2013 01:09 PM
14 September, 2013
A question I hear regularly in my travel from both teachers and Moodle admins alike is “How can I give my student’s parents access to Moodle?”. Or, in a business context, “How can I give a Team Leader access to their teams progress and performance?”. Surprisingly the answer is relatively simple if not a prolonged process.
With Moodle we traditionally think of the 8 pre-defined roles. These included:
- Course Creator
- Non-editing Teacher
- Authenticated User
Of course many situations arose where Admins wanted to create more roles that met their specific requirements. When Moodle 1.7 (how long ago was that!) was released one of the many additions it brought along with it was a new Roles architecture funded mainly by the Open University that finally gave admins the ability to create their own roles and role overrides with set permissions on demand.
Now I could write a 10 page article on roles, which to put your mind at ease I will not do now. But needless to say the ability to create on demand roles to allow specific functionality for users is a godsend. I have a role to allow a user just the ability to post news on the front-page, another role for College Directors and so forth. Todays post though will look at creating a Parent/Mentor Role.
What is a Parent/Mentor Role?
Here is the situation many of us are faced with. We have parents who want to see their child’s progress or a Team Leader needing to view their down-line staff inside the LMS. How can this be achieved while maintaining privacy. Here was my list of “Must Haves” and “Must Not Haves.
- Ability to see their child’s/staff’s marks
- Track their child’s/staff’s access of materials
- Be able to view their child’s/staff’s activity
- View content created by their child/staff (forum and blog posts/uploaded assignments)
Must Not Have
- the ability to see other child’s/staff’s details
- access to course materials. I don’t want my teachers/trainers judged by what they have online
- The ability to change or edit the child’s/staff’s work
Great news is we can create a custom role that will allow us to facilitate this!
Before I go on I also need to talk about where we can apply roles. Most teachers and admins know that roles can be allocated at a course/category/site level. (i.e. admins are site level roles, course creators may be category level roles and teachers are course level roles). But what many admins don’t know is that we can also apply roles at activity and at the user level as well. For parent roles to function we actually add a parent role to a student. This means that parents will only see details for the student/students to which they are attached.
How do we set this up? Well the following is blatantly copied and pasted from the MoodleDocs. If you are not yet already a follower of this brilliant user-created wiki for Moodle documentation then where have you been?
Setting up the Role
Creating new roles and allocating permissions is something that only Moodle Administrators can do. If you only have teacher access I am afraid at this point I have to tell you to not pass Go or collect $200. If you are an admin read on. All of this is also covered in the Moodle tutorial at the bottom of this post.
- As an administrator, go to Administration > Site administration > Users > Permissions > Define roles and click the “Add a new role” button.
- Give the role a name (such as “Parent”, but it can be anything appropriate, such as tutor/mentor) and assign it to the user context.
Under the heading of Course
- Change moodle/user:viewdetails to allow – to access the student’s profile
Under the heading of Users
- Change moodle/user:viewalldetails to allow - to view all aspects of the student’s profile
- Change any/all of the following capabilities to allow
- Click the “Create this role” button.
Some permissions may already be set to “Allow”, or the permissions granted here may not be the ones required for that Role. This set of Permissions mean that this Role allows anyone assigned to a Parent Role, then linked to the Student Role, to edit the profile or read the blogs of that Student – not everyone’s profile or blogs.
Assigning the new Role to the Student
Before we go any further I must point out the obvious. The parent needs to have their own account in your Moodle. This means they have their own name and password. The process/policy discussion round this is huge and not one for this post. But lets assume you have it created ok?
- Access the child’s profile page, via Administration > Site administration > Users > Accounts > Browse list of users
- Go to ‘Profile settings for [username]‘ > ‘Roles’ >’Assign roles relative to this user’
- Choose the role to assign (This is the role we just created above i.e. Parent)
- Select the parent in the potential users list and use the Add button to add it to the existing users list.
- Your done! No repeat as necessary if that parent has more than one child at your institution.
If you are interested in assigning several parent roles en masse there is a contributed plugin (use at your own risk) here CONTRIB-3938 which allows you to configure automatic role assignment between users from a database (ex: mentor/mentee or parent/child). You can also read the discussion at http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=70539#p345127)
The Mentees Block
The next question is, now that we have the roles assigned, how does the parent or Team Leader get to their child’s/staff’s profile? The good news is that Moodle has thought of this and has included the “Mentees Block”.
The Mentees block may be added to the site front page or to the My Moodle page. It provides a mentor/parent with quick access to their mentee(s)/child(s) profile page.
To add this block to the site front page:
- On the Front Page, turn editing on.
- Go to the Add Blocks block and select the Mentees block and when it appears, click on the Configuration icon.
- Edit the configuration settings to suit the needs of the site. When complete, save the changes and return to the Front Page. These settings include reaming the block to give better context and the ability to have it display across all pages of the site.
Note that as mentioned above this role can be used for not just parents but also is well suited to Tutor’s, Team Leaders, Mentors and other supervisory style roles. This is just an introduction to one of the many roles that you can build in Moodle. If you have any other roles you would like to see covered please detail them in the comments and Ill see what I can do.
The post Parental access for Moodle appeared first on Moodleman Blog.
by moodleman at 14 September, 2013 12:33 PM
13 September, 2013
From the static Web to dynamic mobile browsing
In the beginning, when Learning Management Systems (LMSs) were young battlers, Moodle came about as a combatant that succeeded through its stubborn simplicity. Other LMSs attempted to overload interfaces with Java to achieve an edge. Moodle, on the other hand, stuck to standard Web interfaces to achieve the same result. The result was that Moodle was considered simpler and more user-friendly. If you knew how to use a Web browser, you could use Moodle; you didn’t have to have any additional browser plugins installed. Moodle’s usage grew rapidly, overtaking its competition, because people could understand it.
LMSs are also being used beyond the desktop. Now that we are finally seeing consistency among desktop browsers, developers are faced with a new challenge in the form of mobile devices. The standards set for the Web are still followed (although I think a mobile browser war is just getting started), but the physical interface to the browser is different on mobile devices. No longer can we rely on users with a mouse, keyboard and monitor; the Web has to work with touch interfaces also. We aren’t even afforded the luxury to assume a reasonable minimum screen size.
A new battleground
I have been involved in the bureaucratic effort to select a new LMS for a university. Battle was fought by lining up each LMS candidate side-by-side against a set of features. The LMS with the most checkmarks next to its name was the victor. Moodle won this battle many times because it was well featured. If the feature didn’t exist in the standard distribution, there were add-ons to supplement it, and if that wasn’t enough, you could always customise. The other thing Moodle had going for it was its underdog status, which I’ve talked about before.
About two years ago, at the 2011 Australian Moot, I sensed a new set if biases creeping into the public consciousness. No longer were people asking for more features, instead they were wanting style and speed. Does this mean Moodle is feature-complete? Probably not, but at least most people seem satisfied with the current feature set and seem to have shifted priorities. A new battleground has been forming in my mind in the last couple of years.
So what is Moodle doing to arm itself for this new battleground? Here are some newish additions to Moodle’s arsenal.
People spend a lot of time in Moodle using the editor. The WYSIWYG editor has been around from very early in Moodle’s history, but now it’s is being simplified. We’re still using TinyMCE for now, but keep your eyes open in future for a brand new, home-grown editor alternative that will be slicker still.
Access to the world’s data
Repositories are sources of files. They could be files on your computer, files on the institution’s server, files from the Web or files from “the cloud”. This concept seemed to stump some people at first, but it is now starting to make sense. At the advent of Moodle 2.0, there were a few teething problems with repositories, but this part of Moodle has settled down into something smooth and reliable.
An interface that works on anything
Apparently students and teachers have new-fangled mobile devices now, and they want to access their Moodle sites on these devices. Responsive themes allow a single Web interface to react to different screen sizes. On a large screen, the view is not too different from the standard theme, with a few rounded edges. On a small screen, things are rearranged: menus collapse into icons, blocks shift to below content and pop-ups fill the screen. There are a number of other changes that the use of touch devices have promoted as well. Not only is the interface becoming more usable on different devices, it’s also becoming more accessible to users with disabilities.
Is it working?
Well, none of the things I’ve mentioned above appeared on the feature list a few years back, so are they needed now? There are a large number of registered sites still on 1.9 – why? Is it a case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, or is the simplicity of older Moodle versions still more attractive to some users? Change, it seems, happens slowly in the world of education. Change can be dramatic for people.
When Mary Cooch conducted some training for existing Moodle users at Our Lady’s Catholic High School, the new interface was different enough that they did not recognise they were still using Moodle. One participant’s response was that the new system was “Unbelievably simpler than Moodle!” Others had similar comments, and even though it’s a small sample size, I think we can see that as evidence that Moodle is getting simpler.
The battleground of the future
The battle goes on.
The question now is where the battles of the future will be fought. Predicting the future is precarious, and I’m undoubtedly going to be proven wrong, but I have to speak at a conference next week, so I’d better come up with some ideas that sound slightly visionary.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a hot topic at the moment, with large courses being offered online to anyone willing to participate. Many are anticipating that MOOCs will have an impact on the future of higher education. Moodle has recently conducted what could be seen as an experimental step into the MOOC world. Check out learn.moodle.net.
Massive is big, but is there something bigger. Moodle and other LMSs have traditionally focussed on tertiary education and corporate training. There is a smattering of use in primary and secondary education, but it is limited to a relatively small number of classrooms. However when you compare the student numbers and budgets of these sectors side-by-side, primary and secondary education dwarf the other sectors. So why are LMSs not being used widely in primary and secondary education. I believe the answer is that primary and secondary teachers are not well supported and have less time to attempt such ventures than their colleagues in higher levels of education. Where LMSs could start to become useful is through large-scale integration at state or federal levels. If an LMS is set up where the curriculum is defined, teachers would be freed of the laborious tasks of gathering resources, establishing assessment and conducting grading. Instead they would be free to focus on what they do best: teaching.
End of one-size-fits-all education
At almost any level of education, once the class grows beyond a handful of students, necessity prevents teachers from implementing individual learning plans. The burden of assessing students regularly enough, measuring their performance and adjusting the curriculum to suit them becomes nearly impossible. But that is where LMSs can help. At the moment providing an individual path through a curriculum that automatically adjusts for a student is possible, but it is cumbersome. Hopefully we can improve on that in the future.
by Michael de Raadt at 13 September, 2013 02:18 PM
It has been a long time coming, but the blog has finally received an overhaul. Many may have noticed the old one was hacked, so I thought it may be time to move to a new site, a new version of software and a new look and feel.
With all that hard work out of the way, I also feel like maybe finally adding some new content. With all the excitement of Moodle 2.6 on the horizon I am sure I can add something interesting for readers.
In the meantime, enjoy the new look and feel and please let me know if you have any suggestions/issues or other feedback to report.
Julian (Moodleman) Ridden
The post Finally back with a new blog appeared first on Moodleman Blog.
by moodleman at 13 September, 2013 12:26 PM
In Moodle 2.5 Bas Brands and the team at Moodle HQ introduced the awesomeness of Bootstrap to the Moodle community and built it into the Moodle core code. At the same time a new theme was introduced called ‘Clean’. The original purpose of this theme was to make it easier for developers wanting to make Bootstrap themes to start off making their own new themes. If you have played with my “Essential” theme this was built upon the work done in “clean.
However, while it is definitely a lot easier than before, there are still a few concepts that might confuse many newly minted theme designers. To help assist those people Frédéric Massart has released a fantastic new building base called “Easy”.
As the name suggests, the purpose of this theme to provide an “easy” starting point for those theme designers who are starting out and want to get their heads (or other body parts of choice) around the basics of creating a bootstrap based theme fro Moodle.
The theme provides:
- No more settings, and so, no more use of the settings
- No more specific confusing functions
- Cleaned up config file
- Added inline documentation
- Specific renderer to add layout elements
- Extracted common elements from layout pages
- Quick method to customize Bootstrap using LESS
The post “Easy” theme for designers appeared first on Moodleman Blog.
by moodleman at 13 September, 2013 12:25 PM
Access your Evernote files through a Moodle repository.
Today Frédéric Massart from Moodle HQ released a fantastic new plugin for those who use Evernote as a repository of education related content. The plugin was funded as part of the 2013 Google Summer of Code (GSOC) for Moodle.
For those not familiar with GSoC it is a global program provided by Google that offers post-secondary student developers ages 18 and older stipends to write code for various open source software projects. Moodle has been part of GSoC for a few years now. Each year Moodle has listed several projects for GSoC students to participate in. For this particular project Frédéric mentored Vishal Raheja, the developer assigned to this project.
Once installed this new repository type allows users to browse their notes and download the files they contain. Access your notes via your notebooks, tags and saved searches. You can also use the powerful search provided by Evernote.
This is a great addition for any organisation that utilises the Evernote toolset and from my testing so far works as advertised.
The post Evernote Moodle Repository appeared first on Moodleman Blog.
by moodleman at 13 September, 2013 11:43 AM
I am very proud to announce the latest iteration of my Moodle Bootstrap based “Essential” theme.
This theme was designed to show what themes in Moodle could be possible of. In this case to create a theme that was responsive, clean in design, professional in feel and highly customisable to suit peoples needs. If you want to grab this theme be sure to visit the official listing on Moodle.org by clicking here.
A breakdown of the features in the latest release can be found below:
New in 2.5.4
- Display current enrolled courses in dropdown menu and choose terminology (modules, courses, classes or units).
- New ‘My Dashboard” in custommenu provides quick links to student tools. Can be disabled in theme settings.
- In Theme settings you can now choose to load FontAwesome via CDN (requested feature)
- iOS home screen icons now built in. Can upload your own via settings.
- Alerts for users can be added to the frontpage. (Originally dreamed up by Shaun Daubney and re-coded by me).
- Theme options to connect to Google Analytics.
- Advanced Google Analytics function allowing Clean URL’s for better reporting. Contributed by @basbrands and @ghenrick. More info on this feature can be found in this blog post
- Significantly improved gradebook formatting.
- Toggle in Theme settings determines if FontAwesome is loaded from the theme or from the netdna.bootstrapcdn.com source.
- Back to top button for course pages.
- New “Frontpage Content” box to add custom content in between the slideshow and marketing spots.
Fixes in 2.5.4
- Fix to frontpage slideshow. First slide now loads properly.
- Updated include method to minimse conflicts with 3rd party plugins
- Code significanty optimised. (about 1/5 less lines!)
- Many CSS Fixes
- IMPORTANT: Theme requires Moodle 2.5.1 or higher
See the theme in Action
If you would like to see it in action, head to http://features.demo.moodle.com.au/
The post Moodle Essential Theme 2.4 appeared first on Moodleman Blog.
by moodleman at 13 September, 2013 11:21 AM
by Damyon Wiese.
78 issues have been successfully integrated with 10 rejected and 2 delayed. That is 89% success.
Only one more sprint until code freeze. Time to see what you can slip past the integrators so you can claim you are fixing bugs later
Thanks to Fred for making a push on peer reviews last week, but the number is creeping up again. There are 17
issues waiting for peer review.
- MDL-18375 - Multi Calendar support
- MDL-32862 - Links to some 1.9 resource types break after upgrade to 2.2 followed by backup and restore
- MDL-38267 - Submit button stays active after cut-off date in Assignment
- To All the bots! who test our code, complain alot and keep us company in the wee hours of the mornings. We pretend we don't have favourites, but we really do: Cibot (laptop) is my favourite.
13 September, 2013 08:15 AM
Adobe have kindly invited me to speak at the Adobe Learning Summit in Las Vegas at DevLearn, I’ll be in San Francisco for the GSOC Mentors Summit between 17th-20th Oct and then in Las Vegas between 21st – 25 Oct – even if you’re not attending DevLearn but are in the area and want to catch up – drop me an e-mail!
I’m also thinking about a trip to Alcatraz on the 17th or 18th if anyone wants to join me!
by dan at 13 September, 2013 12:33 AM
10 September, 2013
As we’ll be rolling out some new features later this week, I thought now would be a good time to give an update on the plans for OU Annotate I posted just under a year ago.
The last time I posted about changes, I included the March release – I really must remember to update this blog more often!! So this post is a bit late, but covers what we added in June…
- The ability for some users to see into groups they are interested in, but are not members of – similar to the “access all groups” permission in Moodle which allows module teams to see into tutor groups. In fact, we give this permission to OU staff automatically based on their Moodle permissions.
- Accessibility support for the toolbar, so keyboard and screenreader users can use it as well as the dashboard
- Advanced search in the toolbar
- “sticky” toolbar on OU module websites allowing users to keep Annotate always on as they move through online course content
- Our first tentative steps towards mobile – a responsive design for the manager
- Support for “World” sharing but we haven’t switched that on yet.
by jennymgray at 10 September, 2013 02:35 PM
06 September, 2013
It is less than four weeks now until the Mediterranean Moodlemoot being held in Tunisia. There are people coming from many countries around the world and I was informed today that it is now up to 21 countries that are going to be represented at the Moot. I love these global Moots which I see as essential for practitioner sharing across sectors, cultures and educational practices.
I also just noticed that the programme has been updated on their site too. It includes:
- Martin Dougiamas, Moodle and Moodlers: present and future of a community of 70 million users
- Zoubeir Tourki, Director of the “Ecole Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Sousse” – Tunisia -
- Janvier Nkurunziza Can Moodle be a viable tool to educate the masses in Africa?
- Hafsi Bedhioufi Usages de Moodle dans les FOADs tunisiennes. Cas du M2P3 et de MODECO
- Paolo Renzi Moodle at “Sapienza” University: a case study
- Albert Calvet OpenDrako Training Management System
- Angelo Calò, Cecilia Dal Bon – Supporting teachers and students with moodle: use and deployment of Moodle at the University of Padova. A case study.Anne Garnavault Remy Créer des parcours personalisables avec Moodle
- David Mudrák Integrating Moodle with external systems via web services (3h)
- Richard Pettinger. Moodle in business Training and skills management for internal and external employees,
- Naoufel Nabli Moodle 2. ,Quels avantages pédagogiques ?
- Andrea Bicciolo Open Badges Moodle implementation (Moodle 2.5)
- George Holt Riverina Institute VLE- a journey of integration with Moodle
- Anna Krassa Back to “student”
- Giorgio Manfredi A new way to build interactive L.O. based on paradigma of gamification.
- Nitin Jain MooARPT – Moodle Advanced Reporting and Participation Tracking Tool – A reporting, tracking tool for teachers, administrators and organizations
- Gavin Henrick Reviewing add-ons for use in your Moodle 101
- Helen Foster Make the Most of Being a Moodler – The Rough Guide to Community Sites
- Andrea Bicciolo Moodle in corporate environments: methodologies and case studies
- Mary Cooch Il était une fois dans l’outback
- Alfonso Mazzaccara, Donatella Barbina, Debora Guerrera – Problem-based learning in distance training for health professionals: a high interactivity model
- Gavin Henrick Improving learner engagement through gamification of your course
- Daniele Cordella The New Survey 2 Activity Module
- Gavin Henrick The database module “Masterclass”
- Andreas Hruska Kooperative – Moodle Plugin Development for Universities
- David Mudrák Moodle localisation infrastructure
- Carles Aguiló Collado Arabic math notation (in french)
- Richard Pettinger Using Moodle as a management development support and resource
- Marco Gianfranchi Moodle for beginners
- Andrea Bicciolo Personalized learning paths
Plus a special session with Moodle HQ:
- Learn Moodle MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) – Panel Session with Moodle HQ. Meet the users of the first massive course to collect comments and suggestion to develop next edition of MOOC
That is one nice list of presentations some of which I am really looking forward to including the one on the new survey 2 activity module!
So for registration details on the MedMoot check out their site as there is still time to register.
by ghenrick at 06 September, 2013 09:06 PM
05 September, 2013
by Dan Poltawski.
47 issues have been successfully integrated with 16 rejected and 9 delayed. That is 75% success.
Code freeze is now 4 weeks away, its crunch time!
David Monllaó has been working on improving our performance comparison and testing tools for the upcoming release, details of his plan are available in Moodle docs and he requests feedback on this proposal. Part of the work which David has already started includes building upon the work which the Sam Marshall contributed for generating large datasets for testing. Developers should be aware of the improved functionality in the tool_generator which can now generate large courses with large amounts of enrolments for testing.
There are currently 9 issues waiting for peer review, including drag and drop fixes, activity chooser subtypes and course related fixes. It's great to see the number under double figures, but lets get to zero!
- MDL-38190 - Backup and restore now displays progress
- MDL-41402 - Automate large site generation for testing
- MDL-32690 - Missing 1.9 assignment types no longer prevent course restore
- MDL-41267 - Admin tool subplugin support
- To Rajesh Taneja for many bug fixes, collaboration and always being willing to bring alternative points of view to technical debates, thanks!
05 September, 2013 08:03 AM
04 September, 2013
With just over a month to go the Moodle Research Conference 2013 being held in Sousse, Tunisia on 4th and 5th October, it is great to see some of the information on what the programme should be.
The two proposed workshops look very interesting -
The first one is a half day workshop titled “Exploring discussion group communication” which aims to get “a deeper understanding or the rich and multilayered data available in discussion groups within Moodle, and exploring the realm in across-cultural cross-linguistic fashion”.
The second workshop is a full day session on “Improving computer-aided teaching and learning in Moodle”. This aims to explore a number of points including “What automatic triggers would be useful to guide learners towards more effective learning?“.
A pity cloning is not an option to attend both.
In the draft list there are 12 full papers and 3 posters detailed. It is certainly good that this conference is only one stream I would pretty much hate to miss any of these. One of the presentations that I am looking forward to is where analysis on the use of Moodle add-ons has been undertaken – “Analyzing Moodle Plug-ins Across Several Thousand Sites”. That should be an interesting view into usage by sites of different extra features.
Another one is some research into the student perspective of Moodle titled “The Use of Moodle at Cass Business School: A Student Perspective” which is interesting for a few reasons including as it says “authors of this report are students at Cass Business School, which makes it the first piece of research of its kind, entirely focused on the student perspective“.
For full details on the Moodle Research Conference check the MRC2013 website -
To register check here for registration details
by ghenrick at 04 September, 2013 08:51 PM
30 August, 2013
by Damyon Wiese.
40 issues have been successfully integrated with 15 rejected. That is 73% success - up from last week.
1 week remaining until the next point releases.
- MDL-36803 - TinyMCE editor doesn't accept keyboard input on iOS6 after touch event - Note that not all iOS issues with TinyMCE are resolved yet - there is more to do.
- MDL-41098 - Add Atto HTML editor to core (the editor formally known as contenteditable)
- MDL-29004 - Wiki: printerfriendly view don't show / print images uploaded via html-editor.
- MDL-41245 - Multiple issues with plugin installing, upgrading, uninstalling and reinstalling
- MDL-41364 - Appalling apostrophe crime in moodle-core-notification
30 August, 2013 03:42 AM
28 August, 2013
This year was the first time I visited Romania and the Moodlemoot which was held at the Aula “Sergiu T. Chiriacescu” a Universității Transilvania din Brașov. It was an excellent opportunity to meet so many other Moodle users from across Romania, Moldova and further afield.
Aula “Sergiu Chiriacescu” a Universității Transilvania din Brașov
The venue was a university building with a super big theatre that could easily have taken 600 I guess, which reminded me a bit of a concert hall. It was really a lovely venue.
At the end of the Moodlemoot, the attendees got together to sing Moodle Happy Birthday – as Moodle had just turned 11 years old a few days before this.
I gave two presentations at the Moodlemoot. One was titled The road not taken – for those who like poetry you may recognise the title of a Robert Frost poem where he considers which road to take at a junction in a wood and takes the one less travelled by. This presentation focused on some of the great Moodle resources and activities that often get overlooked often due to not having seen them in action, namely Book, External Tool and the Glossary.
The other presentation was about using Moodle Add-ons to extend your Moodle site of which I have shared variations of at different events but have updated with some other plugins.
Brasov was an amazing town, with some truly wonderful buildings and views and very friendly people. On one of the evenings most of us met up in the old town square and some of us headed off for dinner
It also has a small mountain beside it which you can travel to the top of with a cable car – this was the view from the top of the cable car -
View down the cablecar route from Tampa Mountain in Brasov
On the Friday we all headed off to Bran Castle which was a very beautiful building (if a pity that it was designed for short people)
Outside Bran Castle
Inside the courtyard at Bran Castle
I was lucky to get to join a few to visit Rasnov Citadel which has awe inspiring views.
Moodlers at the Rasnov Fortress
For the rest of my pics of the trip check out the flickr gallery
Thanks to Cosmin and all the wonderful people who made me feel welcome. It was a memorable trip and I certainly must go back in coming years!
by ghenrick at 28 August, 2013 07:39 PM
I just noticed an update from one of the organisers of the upcoming Mediterranean Moodlemoot being held in Tunisia.
As in EU, in the Mediterranean region and in many other countries August is the holiday month, we received a number of requests for extending the Early Bird deadline, so we decided to extend the Early bird registration for the Mediterranean MoodleMoot up to Monday, September, 9th, 2013.
The same extension will also be available for the Moodle Research Conference, which will be held on the same venue just after the Mediterranean MoodleMoot, a great opportunity to attend both events.
The Mediterranean MoodleMoot site will be updated accordingly to reflect the new dates, in the mean time you can register to the Mediterranean MoodleMoot conference using the Early Bird rate! - Andrea Bicciolo
So if you have not booked your trip yet to Tunisia for the Medmoot and the Moodle Research Conference in October, there is still time to do so with the Early bird rate.
MedMoot Preliminary Agenda
The preliminary programme looks really good with a range of plenaries, and parallel sessions and workshops. For more info check the full agenda.
by ghenrick at 28 August, 2013 06:58 PM
23 August, 2013
by Damyon Wiese.
50 issues have been successfully integrated with 23 rejected. That is 68% success - the bar is really high and that is a good thing.
2 weeks remaining until the next point releases.
- To all addon authors for greatly enhancing the Moodle platform far beyond the standard installation.
23 August, 2013 05:06 AM
16 August, 2013
by Dan Poltawski.
40 issues have been successfully integrated with 9 rejected. That is 82% success.
Code freeze is fast approaching with freeze for new features in Moodle 2.6 scheduled on Monday October 7th, just over 1 month away! Your chances of success will be increased by submitting sooner rather than later!
After some consideration, we have decided to retire the MyMobile theme to concentrate our efforts on a responsive approach across all themes, follow MDL-40874 for progress and discussion of this issue and many thanks to John Stabinger for his work on this theme.
- MDL-31487 - Ensure grade items remain hidden if explicitly hidden via gradebook (regardless of activity state)
- MDL-30001 - WebCT Question Import
- MDL-35934 - File picker improvements on mobile
- MDL-40871 - bulk deletion of entries in the database module
There are currently 13 issues waiting for peer review, including support for non-gregorian calendars, backup and course based improvements. Any help reviewing these issues is always appreciated.
- To Sam Marshall for many years of development, input and entertainment on the Moodle forums!
16 August, 2013 04:34 AM
13 August, 2013
There are so many add-ons now for Moodle, with the community busy adding more and updating their existing ones. Here are a few community developed Moodle blocks that I have been recommending to clients for use in their Moodle sites.
Developer: Mark Johnson
This block provides a number of options for changing text size and colour scheme. Also integrates the very powerful and useful ATbar from Southampton University ECS.
Although most browsers provide a level of this functionality already, it can be handy to have it on the page.
One nice feature of this block is that it has a save settings option.
Developers: K Holland, M Jin and J Chen.
This block provides a display of all enrolled courses’ overall grades and links to grade reports from the My Home page.
It will list all the courses that the user is enrolled in as a student and list the final grade from the Gradebook.
It will not show the grade if the course is hidden or the gradebook hidden in that course.
It will also display the grade correctly as per Gradebook settings, be it Letter, Real, Percentage.
Developer: Ralf Krause
This is a nice simple block that provides a search box for Wikipedia directly on the Moodle page.
I know there is debate in different organisations about whether students should be using and relying on Wikipedia or not, but for those who do encourage it this block is a nice addition to their Moodle site.
For more detailed reviews on a range of add-ons for Moodle, you can check out the Moodle Add-ons book that has information on the steps to take when assessing add-ons, instructions on setting up a test Moodle and over 30 add-on reviews. It is available for Paperback, Kindle Edition and iTunes ePub
by ghenrick at 13 August, 2013 03:55 PM
Sometimes a new theme or plugin can take a while before people know about it and start using it, but this was not really the case for the new theme by Julian Ridden (from Pukunui Moodle Partner) called “Essential” which within the first 2 months is the most downloaded theme over that period.
Not every theme will suit all organisations design decisions. As I mentioned in my theme whitepaper, each theme comes with a set of features and pre-existing layout choices which gives the theme developer a menu to start from when building a new theme. So if you have a specific concept in mind you look for a theme which meets those needs or has those features already so you have a base to work from.
Julian takes this point and runs with it – making his themes feature rich and highly configurable to tackle a lot of the potential requirements.
So what is Essential?
As Julian puts it Essential is a theme “made to have the site look as little like Moodle as possible” which can be used where “Moodle would potentially serve as a company homepage rather than just a course list”. It has a lot of setting options covering
- Configuring the general behaviour of the theme
- Background image and colour settings
- Configuring the front page slide show
- Configuring the 3 marketing spots on front page
- Configuring the URLs for the Social Networking icons
- Configuring URLs for the Mobile App links
The theme is Responsive so that it can intelligently and dynamically reposition the content on the page as the size of the browser window changes which is especially useful for use on Mobile or tablet devices. Consider the examples below: The first image is a standard browser size and the second is from the 768 width which could be a tablet.
Standard Browser Layout
768 Width Browser
The bottom blocks have repositioned under the first one so that they look best on the page rather than too squeezed. With responsive design however as you can see in the second one you do need to consider the header and how much you want to have in it.
The Front Page
The front page reminds me more of a company website (as is the intention) than a Learning Management System. The inclusion of the slide show and the three marketing blocks provide a great tool for those wanting to promote certain aspects of their site. These blocks could be promoting courses or the Student Help / Library and Support areas in an academic context.
Frontpage Slide show
An example of one of the settings pages is the one page which powers the excellent slide show on the front page. The slide show rotates through up to four slides which are configurable with the name, image, text and link that they each use.
Firstly you can select whether you want it to display on mobiles or not which is handle as it may take up a lot of space before the other content.
Then you can configure each slide as shown in the image below:
Configuring a Slide from the Slide Show
This is a very cool feature and nicely implemented making this a simple task for the admin!
Frontpage Marketing Spots
The inclusion of 3 blocks on the front page which are totally configurable through the UI is a neat feature. You can turn on/off this feature of the theme if you want to. When configuring each of the blocks like the slide show it is very easy to do:
Configuring a marketing spot on front page
This is really useful and I see it being used by most who try out the theme!
I must admit that in fixed width designs I think that two columns of Blocks really squeezes the course content area so if I was basing a design on this theme I would have only one column. The Essential theme moves by default the two columns to the right rather than one on either side of the “middle” content area. Having both options available for people to choose is a good thing, as some will like the standard way and some will like the new alternative.
Course Example of Essential Theme
There does seem to be a few minor issues with styling of form fields which shows up in the Gradebook with fields being longer than normal which makes it too wide. This is also an issue in the core Clean theme but I imagine minor layout issues like these will be tackled soon enough.
This is only available for the latest Moodle due to various improvements that were added – including the Bootstrap based theme. I hit a bug trying this on Moodle 2.5 but it worked fine on Moodle 2.5.1 so be sure you are on the latest version of Moodle if you are going to try it out.
The Moodle plugin directory page for the theme is: https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=theme_essential
The theme is also available from GitHub here: https://github.com/moodleman/moodle-theme_essential
Some final thoughts:
I am sure that this theme will continue to be rolled out by many organisations as the base for their Moodle site theme. The wide range of settings and responsive nature of the theme certainly will make it “essential” for many Moodlers. I know of a few who will be wanting to upgrade to 2.5.1 just to use this theme which in itself is a good thing too!
Well done Julian!
Oh and Julian with so many features it would be great to have a google analytics setting in a later version so that users could implement either the standard Google Analytics tracking or the more advanced Google Analytics Tracking. This would really help companies who need to provide higher level of statistics reporting. Next version maybe Julian?
by ghenrick at 13 August, 2013 12:41 PM
11 August, 2013
In just over a week registrations open for the Moodle for teachers: An introduction MOOC being ran by Moodle HQ at learn.moodle.net. This is the the first official Moodle MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). This is a free course designed for anyone who wants to learn to use Moodle for teaching or training.
It is a four-week course which starts on Sunday 1 September with participants needing to spend 2-3 hours a week on it. Those who complete the course will get a Moodle MOOC completer badge (Moodle now supports Open Badges since 2.5)
Each week covers some key aspects of Moodle covering the platform overview, resources, assessments and activities and some advanced features as detailed below (full course overview here -> :
Week 1 – Getting Started
Week 2 – Getting involved
Week 3 – Making the Grade
Week 4 – Taking it further
The course is being facilitated by Mary Cooch – Moodle HQ Documentation Fairy. You may also know Mary from her conference presentations or her superb blog.
So if you have some time in September, and are looking to get an introduction into Moodle – put the 19th of August into your calendar and be sure to sign up for the Moodle for teachers: An introduction MOOC.
by ghenrick at 11 August, 2013 05:04 PM
08 August, 2013
by Sam Hemelryk.
48 issues have been successfully integrated with 6 rejected and 0 delayed. That is 89% success.Notes:
Its worth nothing that several accessibility issues were resolved this week with better notation of dynamic content. We hope to see more of these landing in the next few weeks.
There was also a nasty segfault addressed this week coming from a call to unset. We will be more mindful of how unset is being used from now on.
- MDL-34785 - fixed a performance issue arising from limit differences.
- MDL-40995 - ongoing work to improve our Minify implementation.
- MDL-40438 - all uses of textlib and collatorlib have now been converted.
- This week goes to everyone who was involved in MDL-31226. Especially to Ruslan who was responsible for creating the final solution. Great work guys and girls!
08 August, 2013 09:27 PM
07 August, 2013
Do you have a set of rules that say to teachers “your course must have x on it”? At the OU, this is called the “standard provision” that all module presentation (course) websites must adhere to.
Of course, it’s all very well having a document that states the standard provision, but does any-one bother to read it? Do course websites actually do what it says?
That’s where my team’s latest work comes in. We’ve written a new report plug-in that checks against the standard provision and offers up a score for each website as to how compliant they are.
The measures are specific to the OU: is the “assessment” block displayed?; is there a “library resources” page? So you could argue that there’s no point in my telling you about this report and no point in sharing it with the community.
But, I haven’t blogged in while, so I thought I’d say something! And, we wrote the report such that you can switch individual measures on and off, and add new ones by dropping in a new class into the code without changing anything else. So hopefully this is extensible for use on other Moodle instances here and in other institutions. Technically this is a bit hacky because reports don’t support sub-plugins officially, but hey – it works!
Here’s a picture anyway. If you’d like some more detail or there’s any interest in me making this contrib please let me know!
by jennymgray at 07 August, 2013 08:59 AM
06 August, 2013
This year at the Moodle Research Conference in Sousse, Tunisia they hope run some research workshops that will bring together groups of researchers interested in initiating or continuing collaborative research projects. The goal of the workshops are typically publication of papers, although they hope they may lead to other things, such as improvements in Moodle or new add-ons.
They are inviting potential Workshop leaders to propose a workshop so that they can have one or more on the day after the Research Conference (Sunday 6th October). For more information check the Call for Workshop proposals on the Moodle Research Conference Site.
They hope to get proposals covering topics such as MOOCs, learning analytics, assessment tools, third-party applications/services, gamification, feedback attention, etc..The deadline for submitting a Workshop proposals is Monday August 12, so you have plenty of time to think on it!
See the Call for Workshop proposals page for more details.
See you in Sousse!
by ghenrick at 06 August, 2013 09:30 AM
01 August, 2013
by Sam Hemelryk.
37 issues have been successfully integrated with 2 rejected and 0 delayed. That is a hug 95% success rate, good job everyone!Hot topics:
- MDL-39814 - Course activity and resource editing icons are now displayed within a drop down menu with larger icons.
- MDL-11270 - MSSQL no longer uses ntext instead using nvarchar(max).
- MDL-39430 - We're now encouraging the use of opcache.
- MDL-40678 - The notification JS module has been split into several sub-modules.
- MDL-40806 - YUI config is now included in JS when in developer mode paving the way for further JS improvements.
To Andrew Nicols
for his continued efforts on improving the state of our JS and for making our browsers feel a little faster every week.
01 August, 2013 10:46 PM
29 July, 2013
It took some time, but now the Book is available on both of the popular e-book platforms - Amazon Kindle and iTunes.
For those who havent seen my post about the new book before, here is a quick overview on the book.
The Moodle Add-ons book was co-authored by myself and Michael de Raadt. It includes:
- authoritative reviews of the best add-ons for Moodle
- a guide to setting up your own Moodle test site so you can try add-ons without risk
- step by step installation and setup instructions for each reviewed add-on and examples of how to use them
- processes to fully evaluate add-ons so you can use them with confidence in your institution
The Moodle Add-ons Kindle edition is available from Amazon for about 9.99 dollars depending where you are.
iTunes ePub Edition
The Moodle Add-ons ePub edition is available from Apple iTunes for about 9.99 dollars depending where you are.
The Moodle Add-ons paperback if available from Createspace or Amazon for approx 25 euro depending on where you are.
Who is the book for?
Whether you are a developer, teacher, administrator or project manager, if you wish to enhance your Moodle site with add-ons, this book will provide advice for evaluating add-ons and also help you to identify some great add-ons that will enrich specific aspects of your platform.
by ghenrick at 29 July, 2013 09:50 AM
26 July, 2013
by Damyon Wiese.
73 issues have been successfully integrated with 12 rejected and 0 delayed. That is 86% success, great!
JQuery libs have been updated to 1.10.2 (for Moodle 2.6 only). Developers should now test their plugins against this updated JQuery library before Moodle 2.6 is released. See http://docs.moodle.org/dev/jQuery for more information on using JQuery in Moodle.
Another reminder about the upcoming developer meeting on Tuesday, July 30: http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Developer_meeting_July_2013
- MDL-28019 - Implement file management for HTML-related file areas (Wow - 145 votes!)
- MDL-39985 - Add explicit MariaDB support
- MDL-39846 - Define new event dispatcher behaviour and implement it
- MDL-33563 - Rubric grades could be posted in decimal format
- MDL-23493 - Support for including a font through theme CSS
- MDL-40545 - new $CFG->localcachedir (related to clustering)
And more in areas like: right to left languages, mobile, automated testing and performance.
To Petr Škoda, for years and years of hard work. The difference you have made to Moodle is immeasurable.
Cheers - Damyon
26 July, 2013 05:28 AM
19 July, 2013
Files for use in E-Learning
This brings me to the use of Creative Commons and other licenses in e-learning courses.
If you are using an image in your course that is CC BY – one of the most liberal of all the image licenses – just requiring you to provide attribution. This specifically means you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
So how do you provide the attribution?
- Do you put it in the alt text for the image?
- Do you put it the image description?
- Do you add a caption below the image to show the attribution?
Specific or Custom Attribution Requirements
So what if the author has specified a special type of attribution – such as including their name, or company name and a URL in the footer of the page of the site using the image or item. Would you want “Images provided by COMPANY X” in the footer of every page ?
If every image creator required this type of attribution you would have a LOT of extra stuff in your footer if you use a lot of images.
- Do you read the license for an image before using it?
Certificates and Badges
As badges are a hot topic recently, I am consulting on a few projects which are looking at implementing badges. In all cases my advice has been the same: Get the images you use created specifically for you .
The benefit of having new images created means that you can have appropriate branding on them, and with having full ownership of them and will have no rights issues to deal with.
What has this to do with Creative Commons?
If you were to find a nice image on Flickr, twitter, or somewhere else that you wanted to use for a certificate or a badge, and it has a CC license rather than a public domain or royalty free license how will it work?
Okay, so you can provide credit on your course where you use the image to issue a badge, but what about the student who then earns the badge. Are they not bound by the license too when they display the image on a backpack or their own website and have to provide attribution to the creator?
What about their badge backpack host company – are they now bound by the image license?
To quote: “As an Issuer, you hereby grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty free license to use badges (including all the content and code in them) pushed to us by Earners from you in connection with the Mozilla Badge Backpack.” – from http://backpack.openbadges.org/tou.html
There was an interesting discussion on the Open Badges google group about this including the developers of great tool https://www.openbadges.me/ to ensure they had unrestricted rights to the fonts and icons they used in the creation of badges which underlines the importance of the due dilegence involved.
In summary, when you go to use an image for a badge or certificate – be sure you are fully aware of the implications of the license and if you are unsure ask the creator and/or your legal team! And if in doubt, get your own created.
But how about the Meta data of the image
In Moodle 2 you can set the author and license when adding a file into Moodle, but how do you provide the attribution?
Do you create a file to add to the course with all the licensed images / videos and the link / author info or have you found another way to handle this correctly? And of course if you have used a share-alike type license in your course is your course available as creative commons with same license?
A work experience student working with me just released an early version of a block -> Course Files. This is just an early version and shows all files in a course only viewable by the teacher.
However, this could end up as a “course credits” block showing a list of just the creative commons files and the author/license etc but viewable by all in course (including students).
When you drag and drop a file into Moodle it assigns the default license on the site and your name as the author. So you will need to go in and edit it to correct the meta data if incorrect.
Some of the repository APIs are copying in metadata of files(Like mediawiki one) but this of course depends on how the API works on the repository itself.
- How do you handle the attribution aspect of files in e-learning?
** This was originally part of another blog post which I broke in two : Some thoughts on Licenses
by ghenrick at 19 July, 2013 04:13 PM
This is a bit of a ramble around a few ideas about licensing – so bear with me.
I license some of the content on this blog as creative commons, under the CC BY SA, which is one of a number of Creative Commons licenses that can be chosen. I also choose to not put a CC license on some of the materials. Some of them I cannot put a license on, or at least that is how I view it as it may have content that cannot be re-licensed.
So this brings me to some the reasoning behind this post.
Think on the following issues:
Person A presents at a conference using his copyrighted slides, possibly with express permission at the conference to use a 3rd party image, diagram or some content for that presentation.
Person B takes a photo of the screen/presentation slide and uploads to Flickr, assigning a CC license, or records a video and uploads it with a license CC. Or perhaps even to a system which does not specific a license at all.
Person C then re-uses the shared content thinking it CC in a course, or blog post, or presentation.
- Does Person B have any right to redistribute someone else’s licensed content?
- What about Person C actions?
What about Person X,Y,Z who collaborate during the conference to create a google doc of notes, content etc from the slides of various presenters and share it with others specifying a license (have seen the restrictive cc-by-nc-sa used for this). Some of the original content on those slides may have been this license, and some maybe be not be CC, and so on.
- So something to think on is: How can a collective apply a new license to content derived from already licensed content? Slides may have had CC BY SA license and then NC is being added to it when (to my knowledge and I am not a lawyer) that is not allowed under the original license.
- If the original slides are licensed as no derivatives then even making the notes using some of the content is probably not allowed is it?.
What is right, lawful, fair in these scenarios? Do people who share at conferences or events think about the rights they may or may not have?
What about presentations or a learning object using licensed content with different licenses. I have seen slide decks that have some CC BY SA and cc-by-nc-sa in the same presentation with the presentation have one of them or another. So is having two different types of licensed content in the same presentation or learning object prohibit being able to correctly license it? Is it possible to use the content with the open and closed license at the same time?
I know I have given presentations which sometimes were and sometimes were not CC licensed. I know some of the presentations used CC images which I cited on the presentation and also licensed the presentation CC. But I guess I probably mixed licenses too.
** I moved the 2nd of this post to a separate post as it probably should have been at first. See Files for use in E-Learning
What are your thoughts on the above issues? How do you address them? How they could be addressed?
by ghenrick at 19 July, 2013 02:58 PM
by Damyon Wiese.
55 issues have been successfully integrated with 9 rejected and 2 delayed. That is 86% success, great!
Don't forget the upcoming developer meeting on Tuesday, July 30: http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Developer_meeting_July_2013
- MDL-30740 - Microsoft SkyDrive Repo
- MDL-13114 - Include bulk course create and remove with Moodle through the use of CSV files
To Jamie Pratt, for adding more quiz tests. Have we mentioned we love tests recently?
To X.Y. Ng, our brand new Digital Marketing Specialist
Cheers - Damyon
19 July, 2013 03:47 AM